A Cyberpilgrim's List of Web 2.0 Tools for Ministry

Posts tagged ‘Animation’


Toolset: ABCya.com

One of my favorite animation tools, xtranormal, is now defunct (but watch for a renewed animation environment at  nawmal, xtranormal‘s purchasing group). In fact, I’m finding that many favorites are disappearing as the excitement of online tools wanes, and companies look toward mobile app development to invest their time and resources. However, there are still online learning sites that provide easy tools for youngsters to create storytelling graphics while learning rudimentary media literacy skills. I was very pleased to see Joyce Donahue’s post about one animation tool called Wimeo. Since I like to built a repertoire of different tools to answer different needs, I continued to scour the web for easy animation tools for youngsters… and oldsters like myself.

Enter ABCya‘s suite of learning tools for the younger set. ABCya was developed by a teacher who created this wonderful site because, as a new teacher looking for online resources for children, he found himself “in a never ending labyrinth of sites for kids loaded with violence, nested links, difficult navigation, and subscription fees!”

ABCya is an online collection of educational games for the younger set. Two in particular caught my eye for creating.

Creed Word Cloud

A word cloud is a, well, cloud of words! A famous word cloud tool, Wordle, is the subject of an earlier post. ABCya has a simple version geared for youngsters. They click the empty screen to start, type or paste words into a box, and click the arrow on the bottom right to create the cloud. There you can set the number of words to be shown, filter out common words, and change the color, layout and font of the cloud. I played with it by copying a Creed from on online source, created the cloud, and noted the largest words, which occur most often. You can then save the cloud as a graphic to use in a PowerPoint, or even as a background for the animation you can create using the next tool:


Getting back to xtranormal (click here for my “sniff!“, my face drawn in ABCya’s Color, Draw & Paint, and imported as a background for a Make an Animation clip) I’ve found that the animation maker in ABCya has its own charm. It is really for the younger set, but I must admit I was engaged for quite some time playing with its features. It is really simple… and limited. But, between WORD CLOUDS FOR KIDS (or ABCya’s Color, Draw & Paint) and MAKE AN ANIMATION, your students can create creative animated gifs, the file type that can be played in any browser, and thus can readily be embedded in your parish or school website. If you need to turn an ABCya animation into a movie for inclusion in Animoto video creation, Moviemaker (Windows), iMovie (Mac), or to upload it to YouTube as I did above… you can convert the gif to a video file using the video converter tool at Online-Convert.com.

I took the word cloud above and made a gif that you can see by clicking here.

Here is a video tutorial of using Make an Animation to create my non-award winning Sniff gif.


If you like these suggestions, click the “Like” button.  Once you engage your students with these tools, come back and tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.

devolver Moviemaker

Tool: devolver Moviemaker

According to Ruby Benjamin, Kids love computers and many could spend all evening and every weekend surfing the web.  Most computer-savvy children are already familiar with common children’s websites based on their favorite TV shows and movies, and those sites can be great for providing some interesting reading geared to getting their attention.

Another type of activity, could be to engage students in retelling the Gospel stories using the devolver Moviemaker tool.

You could refer your students to an online Scripture story like the Prodigal Son.

Invite them to use a tool like devolver Moviemaker to create a movie to tell the Scripture story.  Here is an example for the Parable of the Lost Son.

Graphic for Prodigal Son

The tool is simple to use.  You have three scenes where you choose a simple background and sky, one or two characters, depending on your choice of plot (rondez-vous, pick up, chase, or solilolquoy) and then you write the script for the characters.  Title your masterpiece and add your name.

You then ask your students to email their final project to you.  What do you do with these?  One suggestion:  Invite two students a week to retell the Sunday Gospel.  Once approved, you can email to the other members of the class or invite students to email to other members of their family.  With the embed code, you can add to your blog or website.

Simply be creative, as you now have an opportunity to share the Gospel (a contemporary version) with others.

Devolver content may not be appropriate for younger ages.  I suggest that this tool be used with junior high and high school students.  This may provide an opportunity to talk about “media literacy.”

If you are considering using this tool with your students – click the “Like” button.  Once your students create a video for your class, come back and tell us about it.  We’d love to hear from you.